Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun
October 19, 2010
Two men convicted of killing a former city councilman during the robbery of a Northeast Baltimore jazz club were sentenced Tuesday to life in prison plus 30 years. A third defendant received a 65-year term.
Jerome Williams, 17, and Charles Y. McGaney, 22, were given life terms for their convictions this month on charges of first-degree felony murder, assault and other counts in the 2008 robbery during which Kenneth N. Harris Sr. was killed. A legal expert said that given their murder convictions, Williams and McGaney are unlikely to be paroled unless the governor approves - a rare occurrence.The third man, Gary A. Collins, 22, was convicted of assault and other counts, but was acquitted of murder. Collins, who prosecutors alleged was the ringleader, could be eligible for parole after serving about half of his 65-year sentence.
"Let justice be done," Harris' sister, Naomi Conaway, told the court before sentencing, her face lined with tears. "Let these guys go away forever, as long as possible."
The victim's mother, Sylvia Harris, looked at the defendants and said, "I only wish that you guys could have known him, even for a short time."
Finally, Harris' widow, Annette, above with fist raised, described him as a "loving husband and a great father to our children." She spoke of his legacy of helping the disadvantaged, of trying to steer men away from lives of crime.